HAVE A VIDEO YOU WANT TO FEATURE ON OUR PAGE?

Submit Video

To make sure you never miss out on your favourite NEW stories, we're happy to send you some reminders

Click 'OK' then 'Allow' to enable notifications

Not now
OK
Advert

The Biggest Open-World Video Games Of All-Time, Ranked By Size

Published 
| Last updated 

The Biggest Open-World Video Games Of All-Time, Ranked By Size

There are all kinds of things that need to go into an open-world game to make it feel truly alive. Characters and lore need to be on point to help establish your surroundings and ground them in some kind of history. Quests and missions need to be varied enough that you're always finding new ways to engage with the world. And frankly, the more secrets you can cram into a map, the better.

Advert

But what about size? How important is the scope of an open-world, really? It depends on who you ask. I'd suggest that an open-world game needs to find a balance between being big enough to reward exploration, but not so big that you spend ages wandering from point to point without finding anything of note.

Below you'll find 11 of the largest open-world video games of all time. We're talking games with open worlds so ridiculously vast that you've probably not even come close to exploring every nook and cranny of them. But as impressive as some of these creations undeniably are, if you've played through as many of them as I have? You might be forced to agree that size really doesn't matter that much when it comes to open worlds.

Ghost Recon Wildlands (Ubisoft, 2017)
- 105 sq. miles

Advert
Ghost Recon Wildlands / Credit: Ubisoft
Ghost Recon Wildlands / Credit: Ubisoft

Ubisoft has always been known for grand open worlds filled with things to do. Ghost Recon Wildlands happens to be one of the several Ubisoft games that is simply too big for its own good.

It's not that Wildlands' recreation of Bolivia isn't stunning to look at - it is. It's that you'll be carrying out the same small handful of missions over and over again no matter where you are in the game's massive world... which makes you wonder why it ever needed to be so big at all.

Advert

Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising (Codemasters, 2009)
- 135 sq. miles

Operation Flaspoint: Dragon Rising / Credit: Codemasters
Operation Flaspoint: Dragon Rising / Credit: Codemasters

Much like Ghost Recon Wildlands, Codemaster's Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising is a game that threw all of its weight behind the wrong things.

Advert

Rather than focus on tight tactical shooting and tense engagements with various enemy squads, the real star of the show is a large - ultimately empty - open world that only serves to expose the game's limitations.

Burnout Paradise (Criterion Games, 2006)
- 200 sq. miles

Burnout Paradise / Credit: Criterion
Burnout Paradise / Credit: Criterion
Advert

I don't really have anything bad to say about Burnout Paradise. It's a pretty great game, and who really cares about vast chunks of empty open world when the entire point is to speed through that emptiness as quickly as possible?

The fictional Paradise City is incredibly stylish, ambitious, and wonderfully fun to just zip around in. A fantastic open-world that makes use of its size in all the right ways.

True Crime: Streets Of LA (Luxoflux, 2003)
- 240 sq. miles

True Crime: Streets Of LA / Credit: Luxoflux
True Crime: Streets Of LA / Credit: Luxoflux

You have to hand it to developer Luxoflux for attempting to beat Grand Theft Auto at its own game. When True Crime: Streets Of LA launched in 2003, it was one of the largest open-world games console owners had ever seen.

True, it wasn't exactly stuffed to the rafters with content, but it gave us a way to see LA without ever having to actually go to LA - and I can't stress enough how valuable that is.

Just Cause 3 (Avalanche Studios, 2014)
- 400 sq. miles

Just Cause 3 / Credit: Square Enix
Just Cause 3 / Credit: Square Enix

Just Cause 3 is a sandbox in every sense of the word. A truly colossal open world with so much to do and see - most of it revolving around you setting up and then attempting to pull off the dumbest stunts you can possibly think of.

I don't know that it needed to be as big as it was, but the size of the world really ties in to the over-the-top nature of the rest of the game. Just Cause 3 is a real chungus in more ways than one.

Test Drive Unlimited 2 (Eden Games, 2011)
- 618 sq. miles

Test Drive Unlimited 2 / Credit: Eden Games
Test Drive Unlimited 2 / Credit: Eden Games

I'm all for a racing game with a massive world. As I said in regards to Burnout Paradise, the more space you give me to burn rubber, the better. Test Drive Unlimited 2 offered a world to race through that was - at the time - one of the biggest we'd ever seen.

Some critics took aim at various bugs and glitches that plagued the open-world experience, but if you could fight past those technical issues there was a wide world of multiplayer mayhem to dive into.

Final Fantasy XV (Square Enix, 2016)
- 700 sq. miles

Final Fantasy XV / Credit: Square Enix
Final Fantasy XV / Credit: Square Enix

Square Enix rarely does things by halves when it comes to Final Fantasy, and Final Fantasy XV is no exception. A game that turned travelling across its mighty world into an endearing road trip between friends, I have a lot of love for this one.

My only real issue with Final Fantasy XV is that not all of the game's open world is truly open. Still, you can free roam through the vast majority of it, and it's easily one of the most beautiful of Square Enix's creations.

The Crew (Ivory Tower, 2014)
- 1,900 sq. miles

The Crew / Credit: Ubisoft
The Crew / Credit: Ubisoft

The Crew is another racing game that really sold itself by hammering home what a huge world it had created for players to explore. Sure enough, it wasn't long before there were whispers and rumours that the game would allow you to drive from New York to LA.

Sure enough, driving the width of America is something you absolutely can do in the game if you want to. In fact, it'll take you close to half an hour to do so - longer if you decide to stick to main roads and speed limits.

Fuel (Asobo Studio, 2009)
- 5,560 sq. miles

Fuel / Credit: Asobo Studios
Fuel / Credit: Asobo Studios

Fuel's open world is so ridiculously vast that most YouTubers and content creators who promise to cover the entire thing one day end up giving up before they're even half way done. This post-apocalyptic racing game is stupidly big. You could start on one end of the map today, and you wouldn't have reached the other side until the last recorded syllable of time.

Does that make it a good game, though? No, not really. While technically impressive, Fuel is a pretty average game at best. You have to wonder how much better it might have been if the developers had focused on making an open world even half as big.

Guild Wars Nightfall (ArenaNet, 2006)
- 15,000 sq. miles


Guild Wars Nightfall / Credit: ArenaNet
Guild Wars Nightfall / Credit: ArenaNet

First release in 2006, Guild Wars Nightfall is an MMO expansion that transports players to the fictional continent of Elona. It turns out Elona is really quite big, you guys.

Nightfall was largely well-received at the time, although nobody ever really made much of a song and dance about the size of the world itself, instead honing in on the new gameplay features that made the expansion worthwhile.

The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall (Bethesda Softworks, 1996)
- 62,000 sq. miles

Daggerfall / Credit: Bethesda
Daggerfall / Credit: Bethesda

While games like Oblivion and Skyrim look and feel a heck of a lot grander, it's actually The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall that takes home the prize for biggest map. Not only is it the largest open-world Elder Scrolls title, it's the largest open-world video game in general.

Cards on the table: I've never played Daggerfall, so I'm not entirely sure how much the size of the world matters or even plays into the experience. What I do know is that you can freely travel pretty much anywhere on the map as needed, which is great. I've seen more than a few veterans point out that you'd need to draw up a real-life map if you really wanted to explore all of Daggerfall for yourself. As luck would have it, Bethesda is still offering a free download of this massive game, so dive in and see what all the fuss is about. That's exactly what I'm about to do.

Featured Image Credit: Square Enix/Ubisoft

Topics: Feature, Ubisoft, PC, Bethesda

Ewan Moore
More like this
Advert
Advert
Advert

Chosen for YouChosen for You

Xbox Game Pass

GeoBook 140X Review: A Sleek Laptop for Game Pass Players

21 hours ago

Most Read StoriesMost Read